Mar. 22, 2014 by Darius
At the heart of Israel’s national identity is the so-called War of Independence of 1948. The 1948 war is central to Israel’s founding narrative, similar to the American Revolution in the US. Earlier this week I saw The Admission, a play by Israeli playwright Motti Lerner, that challenges – or at least forces us to examine – that narrative.
In The Admission, a young Israeli man discovers through his Palestinian friends that his father may have been involved in a massacre of Palestinian civilians in a nearby village during the 1948 war. His search for the truth forces him to confront long-buried issues of family, history, and Israel’s martial culture. The Admission isn’t a didactic slam-dunk: it’s one of the few things I’ve seen where I could appreciate the points of view of every one of the seven characters.
The Admission is a difficult play and a fictionalized account of a real controversy that has roiled Israeli academic, political, and social life. Many people deny that there was a massacre of Palestinian villagers, that the Palestinians simply ran off when confronted by the military. Others insist this sort of thing happened and happened more often than has ever been admitted. So controversial is the subject matter of The Admission, in fact, that some Jewish groups have tried to shut down the production, which is being staged as a “workshop” at a prominent Jewish community center in Washington, DC.
However, the opposition to The Admission made me want to see it even more :). If you have a chance to see The Admission, do it. I guarantee you that the play will succeed in challenging whatever you happen to believe about Israel, Palestine, and the 1948 war.
You can read an excerpt of the play (most of the first half) here: http://intranslation.brooklynrail.org/hebrew/from-the-admission-by-motti-lerner